Erik ten Hag’s former captain labels him as “one of the best coaches in Europe”

Tobias Schweinsteiger was Erik ten Hag’s captain between 2013 and 2015 for Bayern Munich II. He revealed the Dutchman’s influence in his own managerial career and claims the soon-to-be Manchester United manager is “one of the best coaches in Europe”.

Brother of Bastian — who played for United for two seasons after he signed for Louis van Gaal in 2015 — Tobias was an experienced player for Ten Hag in his young Bavarian side. He detailed the role that the new United boss played in his development.

“We worked together for two years, two complete seasons, in the Under-23s team.” Schweinsteiger told the United website about his time with Ten Hag in Germany. “I have been his captain over these two years and for me, yeah, he is a role model. It’s because of him that I started coaching.

“He was always talking to me and I was talking to him and he always talked like: ‘Tobi, think like a player. Don’t think like a coach because you’re still a player.’ But he gave me that feeling that there could be a talent for me in coaching.

“For me, he’s a role model. He’s developed over the years. I met him three years ago on a visit in Amsterdam for one week. I visited him and the first team, and also the youth teams, he showed me everything. He was so open. He showed me their philosophy, his philosophy, what he developed, his style of coaching, his style of leadership. For me, he is one of the best coaches in Europe, for sure.”

Ten Hag has won two Eredivisie titles during his tenure at Ajax, with the chance of a third being gifted at the end of this season. The tactical nature that his teams play with has been appreciated by many, including Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola, and his former captain explained the behind-the-scenes under an Erik ten Hag side on the training ground.

“He is a master in training sessions,” He declared. “I remember we had long training sessions in the second team and, in the club, there were some rumours about long training sessions in the Under-23s.

“After a few weeks, we recognised why were doing long training sessions. He wanted us to be perfect and would stop the training session if it doesn’t work and if it was not perfect at all. And, from time to time, the training sessions weren’t that long anymore because we were better. We were improved and, in rondos, in pressing situations, we were better and better, so the time was shorter on the pitch.

“But, yeah, he was, for me, the first coach when I felt like a training session made sense. Before, training sessions were okay – this part, this part and then that part. He was the first coach, for me, from the warm-up to the last match on the pitch it was like okay, one seam and we are working on that until it’s perfect.

“That’s a big part of my training philosophy as well, also with the education and the UEFA pro-licence I did last season, that’s a big part – to have one seam and work in that seam until it’s perfect. Don’t stop until it’s perfect. He is that guy who doesn’t stop until it is perfect.”

Erik ten Hag’s tactical blueprint is something that excites many Manchester United supporters. He will be joining the club at the end of the season. Ajax are the leaders in the Dutch league, four points clear of second-place PSV.

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